Only Four More To Go

This will be a (relatively) short one this week because I didn’t notice my VPN subscription had expired so I can’t rewatch on MLS Live, and I’ll save you my “MLS Live should be available in the UK anyway” rant for this week. Instead, I’ll be relying on the MLS highlights for the few pics I do use and cursing them for not carrying the passages of play I had noted and hoped to talk about. Extended highlights, anyone?

The Timbers made their second trip this season to the heart of Mormonia to face Real Salt Lake after snatching a draw from the jaws of victory against San Jose last time out. The first trip to Rio Tinto in 2012 ended in a 3-0 defeat, and gave owner Merritt Paulson the silver bullet he needed to end John Spencer’s reign of terror(ble football), ushering in a Golden Age of beautiful, free flowing, orgasmic football under our esteemed and benevolent overlord, Gavin Wilkinson.

This second visit also ended in defeat, and three goals scored, but at least this time the Timbers got one of them and, but for the width of the crossbar, they could’ve snatched an, in some ways undeserved, point on the road for the second match on the trot.

The Timbers midfield and defence struggled to come to terms with the movement of Salt Lake’s Fabian Espindola and Javier Morales. It was almost inevitable that it would be the movement of these two that would lead to Real’s first goal.

As Morales picks up the ball (1), the Timbers central midfield two of Wallace and Jewsbury are a little narrow giving space either side to the veteran Argentinian and Tony Beltran (both circled) who has pushed forward.

Espindola will drop off his marker, Horst, and slip into the space between defence and midfield. When he picks up the ball (2), he’s dropped between Wallace and Jewsbury and is then able to turn and run at the space. Morales makes a looping run round the outside and as the Timbers defence gets drawn towards the ball (3), Espindola has the awareness to flick it off to Morales. Jewsbury throws out an arm and tugs back Morales, preventing him getting a shot off or playing in Beltran on the overlap.

From the resulting free-kick, the Timbers make a mess of it. Wallace is positioned as the “runner” – the guy on the edge of the wall whose job it is to charge out and close down the ball the second a touch is taken (or, usually, just before it’s taken – how often do you see free kicks blocked by a guy 5 yards from the ball?).

Rather than charge out, he seems confused by Morales’ little backheel, hesitates and then does a pretty, but ineffective, pirouette. But that’s only part of it. The wall itself parts, allowing Espindola to drive the ball low between Mwanga and Mosquera and into the bottom corner.

Despite Real being the better team, the Timbers did have their chances, but were denied by a combination of good keeping from Rimando, or the final ball just not quite being good enough.

A failure to pick up Morales would once again lead to trouble for Portland later in the first half.

Again, the central two fail to follow Morales, giving him lots of space to work, and it’s his give and go, and then a run inside that leads to the free kick when Jewsbury leaves a foot hanging. There were calls of “dive” from some Timbers fans, but I don’t agree. It was a pretty clear foul, and a really lazy, half-arsed “tackle” from Jewsbury.

This time the wall weren’t to blame as Morales hit a fantastic free kick over the wall and beyond Joe Bendik.

Although both goals came from set plays, it was the Timbers inability to deal with good movement from the Real attack – Morales and Espindola in particular – that were the key. That and Jewsbury having a horror show, and a terrible effort at building a wall.

The second half saw a change from the Timbers with Bright Dike coming on for Steven Smith. Wallace dropped to left back and the team took up more of a 4-4-2 shape.

On the hour mark there was hope for Portland when a fantastic cross from Sal Zizzo was met by the head of Dike and he sent it beyond Rimando for 2-1.

Given this boost, Wilkinson did what any manager would do and took off a defender and put on a more attacking player to try and press for an equaliser.

Oh, did I say he took off a right back, and put Zizzo back there? That is the guy who’d just set up the goal, and wasn’t, isn’t, and most likely never will be, a right back. Meanwhile Jack “I’ve played right back” Jewsbury stayed central, even though we had literally just brought on a central midfielder in Eric Alexander.

Last week, I’d hoped we’d at least bring Alexander on, in order to help retain possession further up the field as we defended a lead. We showed what a good passer of the ball he was against Real, misplacing only 1 of his 15 attempts, making the decision to leave him on the bench against San Jose all the stranger.

With Zizzo at right back, a lot of our threat down the right was neutered, and Wilkinson would complete the job by hooking off Songo’o with a few minutes to go. His replacement, Kalif Alhassan, never really got involved – little surprise when you have all of 8 minutes to make an impact – and, in fact, failed to touch the ball in the final third.

There was, as I mentioned before, that chance for Dike that crashed off the bar. It was, as my wife pointed out, almost the San Jose match in reverse. Once more, it was from Zizzo’s cross and it makes the decision to push him further back all the more odd when you think that we effectively removed this weapon from our arsenal. Dike looked fired up for this after coming on, and the RSL defence didn’t look too sure of how to deal with him so it seemed like the ideal scenario to test them by throwing the ball into the area from wide and letting Dike do what he does best. But we decided not to do that.

I think the move to put Zizzo at right back may be a sign of the management losing faith in Kimura. Kimura came to the Timbers with a “won’t be missed that much on the field” sentiment from Rapids fans that suggested we weren’t exactly bringing in a game changer, but after the trouble the Timbers have had at full-back, someone who could at least do the basics would be a step forward.

Unfortunately, I haven’t seen anything from Kimura to suggest he’s good enough. His reading of the game is poor, and you won’t go poor by betting against him in 1v1s. He has tons of heart, and there’s no doubting he seems like a great guy, the kind that fans can identify with, but he’s a footballing liability too often. Perhaps there was an injury concern, fatigue issues, but it seems to me that it was a management who wanted to test Zizzo in the role, and I wouldn’t be surprised if there is further experimentation at right back before the season is out.

Losing, With Style

Little has changed on the road for Portland since Spencer left. The record under Wilkinson is 2 draws and 5 defeats, compared to Spencer’s 2 draws and 6 defeats. We’re scoring more, which is nice, but conceding more, which isn’t.

Again, a lot was made of possession post-match. “I think the possession stance of this team has changed dramatically from what they were,” said Gavin. It’s certainly true that we’re keeping the ball more since Spencer left – of Wilkinson’s 13 games, we’ve hit 50% or more 8 times, compared to 5 in 17 under Spencer – but of those 13 times we’ve been on top, we’ve won twice.

There may be something to Sigi Schmid’s “our league is a counter-attacking league” quote. Certainly, it seems that the team we have is built for that style of play, unsurprisingly since it was John Spencer that had a big hand in putting the pieces together. In fact, we win almost twice as often when we have less of the ball (29% to 15%) though it’s hard to separate on figures alone which games we’ve set out to counter-attack, and which we’ve simply been beaten back by a better team. Or been shit.

It certainly seems, from looking at the figures (as flawsed as that approach may be) that the team benefit from taking a counter-attacking approach most especially at home. In 18 matches where the Timbers have had equal-or-less possession than their opponents, they’ve lost once – the 3-2 defeat to, appropriately enough, Real Salt Lake earlier this season. Of those 18 matches, the Timbers have won 13. It’s a record worth almost 2.4 points-per-game, or to put it another way, better than any current home record in the league.

By way of contrast, when we’re “in control” of a match at home, that points ratio drops to 0.86, and we’ve won only 3 of 14. On the road, we lose a little over 50% of matches we have less possession in, which isn’t great, but of the 8 road games we’ve been seen more of the ball, we’ve lost 7 and drew only once (Toronto, 2-2).

I think those “philosophical” differences between Paulson and Spencer were, to a large degree, about this style of football. Perhaps seduced by seeing teams like Barcelona and Arsenal, Paulson has thought to himself “I want my team to play like that”. To which, and I’m speculating wildly here, John Spencer might’ve countered with, “not with this lot, you won’t.” Of course, things don’t simply work that way in football and there’s more to play that kind of football than just telling the players to pass it a bit more and play in a 4-3-3.

Clearly, given this new direction, there’s a method behind implementing the system now and getting players used to it, or simply seeing who can do it and who can’t. There was always going to be an adjustment period as players adapted. The issue is that it’s been shoehorned in when the season was still active. We weren’t so far off the play-offs when Spencer was told to pack his haggis and go, but by determining that the way the team played would have to change, and quickly, Wilkinson and Paulson effectively signed the death warrant of this season back in June, for all their public protestation otherwise.

Of course, if it leads to a stellar, or at least competitive, 2013 then the short term pain would be deemed worth it. Enter, Caleb Porter.

Porter has a big job in the off season in identifying those players who aren’t suited and getting them out, and bringing in players who can play “possession with purpose”. The way the current roster has been built has been almost magpie-like – picking up shiny pieces here and there with no real thought for how they fit together. That can’t continue if the Timbers hope to be successful. Signings have to made with the system in mind, rather than simply because he’s a good player and available, ala Kris Boyd. We’ve already seen how successful bringing players in and just plugging them into a system and hoping it works despite everything they (should) know about the player.

With four matches left of a dismal season, the Timbers get to stay in the Pacific Northwest for the remainder. DC United visit Jeld-Wen this weekend, and this followed by trips to Seattle and Vancouver as the team look to salvage a Cascadia Cup triumph from the wreckage of 2012. San Jose visit to round off the year.

#RCTID


[post_ender]

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17 thoughts on “Only Four More To Go

  1. In the Army we have a saying about how victory proceeds from “attention to detail”; that is, that good troops train to succeed from a base of learning how to do the small tasks correctly every time.

    If I had to call out this season’s Timbers I would fault them for their inability to do that. Everything from building a free-kick wall to marking, positioning, passing…I can’t think of a single player who can do the simple Soccer 101 tasks correctly, consistently, for 90+ minutes, every match. Either they play competently for 89.5 minutes and then have a massive brain-fart or, like Wallace or poor Kimura, the fundamental level of their play just isn’t good enough.

    Clearly some of this is on the players. But, like troops, players tend to play the way they train and (in this case) are coached. So the fact that these problems haven’t been solved seems to me to suggest that this entire staff is either unable to recognize these problems, unable to understand the root causes of the problems, or unable to solve the problems.

    Whichever it is, the Persistence of Gavin in the coming season will, in my opinion, make SOLVING the problems very chancy. I’d like to be more optimistic, but this season hasn’t given me much reason to maintain that attitude.

    1. Throw-ins. Their inability to execute a throw-in “with purpose” has been a problem for two years now. There is a long way to go with this team.

      1. I specified that particular play directly in that “Radio Gaga” post that Kevin posted after the San Jose match. Yes, the best way to gain possession from the Timbers other than to stand in front of Franck Songo’o is to kick it into touch and wait for them to throw it to you. It’s ridiculous, and I’ll bet that we lose something like 70% of our throws – pretty much every one beyond 20-25 yards ahead of our goal.

        The more I think about this stuff the more I’m baffled that a team of professionals seems so poorly prepared. And I’m concerned that Porter will have the two people most responsible for this mess; Gavin and Merritt – hanging on his shoulders as he tries to clean it up. Not a good way to go a long way, IMO…

  2. I was just discussing with one of my friends, right before the match started, about how much of a liability Kimura is. Thank you for backing up my position.

  3. “The first trip to Rio Tinto in 2012 ended in a 3-0 defeat, and gave owner Merritt Paulson the silver bullet he needed to end John Spencer’s reign of terror(ble football), ushering in a Golden Age of beautiful, free flowing, orgasmic football under our esteemed and benevolent overlord, Gavin Wilkinson.”

    This touches on why I feel bad for Porter. Paulson and Wilkinson are a disaster, and the coaching position here comes with a built-in level of career suicide in the job description from day one as long as they’re both still in charge. You’d like to think a new coach gets to come in with a clean slate and fresh start. But unfortunately, given the track record of those he’ll answer to, he’ll instead come in with his ankles and wrists tied together, an anchor fixed to his waist, thrown into the Willamette, and told to not only swim, but do it with two people inadvertently and unintentionally making sure his head never breaks the surface of the water.

  4. I guess I had too many drinks (the only way to watch road games) to notice that Zizzo was playing right back after the sub. Makes total Gavin sense to put our only consistent offensive threat of the game as far away from the offense as possible. All I can say is WOW! the incompetence never ceases to amaze me. I really hope Porter takes full control and brings in his own experienced scouts, assistant coaches and fitness trainers. This should be a world class franchise and I just don’t see it building.

  5. As a reference, by my calculations we had 1.12 points-per-game under Spencer and 0.77 with Wilkinson coaching. With Spencer’s 17 games, we had a goad differential of -12 and 16 goals scored. With Wilkinson’s 13, goal difference is -12 and 15 goals scored. You might say our offense is a little better and our defense a bit worse with GW.

    I am very glad he is temporary, because most of his coaching decisions baffle me–continuing to start Kimura, not giving Alexander much playing time, almost all of his substitutions, bunkering for long periods of time instead of playing for possession. Zizzo as fullback?–I laughed out loud. Maybe we could try Horst as a striker next, or Ricketts in midfield?

    I really hope that Wilkinson and Paulson can just stay out of Caleb Porter’s way and let him do what he wants.

    1. Total Gavin Football! Yes Ricketts will provide a big strong presence in the midfield. Brilliant… Here’s hoping Caleb makes a great coach and GM.

  6. It’s not terribly surprising the Timbers haven’t taken the league by storm in their second year of existence. I know people are excited and want their team to win now, but I’m not so critical of Paulson and Wilkins. I really like some of the young talented players this team has. Things didn’t work out with Spencer, which is kind of a setback, but going forward they have hired a great rising talent to coach next year. I guess what I’m saying is nobody who ever succeeds does doesn’t fail. Wilkinson and Paulson are going to learn from their mistakes. If Wilkinson isn’t the guy Paulson will bring in someone else to GM. But overall I love watching this team right now, even as they are losing. The thing about going with young players (and coaches, GMs and owners) is you expect to make some mistakes and have some setbacks but as you gain experience the successes start to outnumber the failures and in the long run you have consistency, stability and hopefully build a strong tradition. Go Timbers.

  7. I think it is becoming more apparent that a lot of “Spenny’s” problem was that he did not get a lot of input into the players that he was given to play with, in my opinion. I think that may have been a big factor in the “philosophical differences” between Spencer and the FO. Spenny had a style he wanted to play, and needed a certain type of player to play it, but I think that the FO did go roster building “Magpie” style as you say Kevin, but even worse for Spencer, they got shiny objects that were unfamiliar with, and rather completely unskilled with the old school SPL/EPL/4-4-2 Wing Attack soccer that Spencer knew how to play. Look how few current Timbers can really effectively cross a ball in the air from the wing. That would seem a basic skill, but not necessarily in styles of soccer that many of our players from South America and Africa/Oceania know how to play.

    I really think that Spencer was handcuffed from the getgo, and excitement got them through the first year, but I’ll bet that there was trouble brewing between Spenny and Gavin and Merritt by midway through the first season. Many have blamed Spencer for being tactically rigid, but honestly, even in the 4-3-3 we have been playing of late, more possession oriented, per se’, we still struggle mightily. I think Spencer made a last gasp effort with Kris Boyd, but even then, without the proper team skills to feed the ball correctly, Kris, and John were doomed…sadly…because…I think if Spencer had been given more control in player selection, and I don’t mean just picking from what Gavin gives him in a player pool, I mean getting to find and pick his own player pool, I think Spencer would have done much better. Sure OG style EPL/SPL attack isn’t exciting like watch build in attack like Tiki-Taka, but it IS still effective and still scores goals, and the MLS ain’t La Liga…not even close…

    And speaking of La Liga and all this Tiki-taka noise, and how Caleb Porter is going to go more that direction…as #1 Leverage Fan pointed out over on Stumptown Footy, there are only two teams in the world who can really really effectively play Tiki-Taka…Spain National, and Spain National Jr…er…Barca…and as he also pointed out, you ain’t gonna play it with the talent pool in the MLS. Those 7 or 8 core guys on Spain who make the magic are just that…magic…a wonder to behold…and after the coming World Cup, I would not guarantee that after this group fades from age, that Tiki-Taka will contiune on. I think that much like the Beatles, this amazing group of guys came together, honed their craft through years of hard work together, and formed and clicked into something amazing, the likes of which the world may not really see again.

    Yes I know, Caleb Porter is not really going to play Tiki-Taka, but more of that controlled possession style that he runs at Akron…but, I don’t think that his style will necessarily be any more effective than Spencers EPL Wing Attack would have been had Spencer been given the proper talent. I went over on YouTube and watched that “Death by 1000 Passes” video of Akron playing, and personally, I came away not at all impressed. Sure, I saw a lot of controlled possession/mulit-pass play…but…what I also saw, was very poor defense played by the opposing teams in the videos, very slack, low to no pressure, lax man marking, a lot like the Timbers defense actually. I didn’t see all that much impressive off ball movement by the offense…I saw them time after time, overload a side, get into nice little triangles and pass the ball around like the Harlem Globetrotters…in fact, they would often completely ignore the “weak” side men who would be wide wide wide open with acres of space to push into, but they would never quickly rotate the ball across the pitch and try to take advantage of the holes they had created…instead, they just kept on playing triangle pass, almost smugly, like they were showing off their superior ball control skills against a feeble opponent…kicking sand in the 98 pound weakling’s face. Rarely, in that video, did I see where all that control ended in a good shot, or goal. Most of the time, the attack pooped out on a weak shot, or bobbled pass that the goalie, or a defender finally scooped up. Yes…maybe I am an idiot…but no…I was NOT impressed at all…

    Maybe Eric Wynalda is right about Porter. The NCAA is not like the MLS, not at all like professional soccer in any league. Akron has long had a great soccer program, and all Porter has had to do is be a good coach/steward of the program and an awesome recruiter, which he most certainly is, getting the very best talent to come play for him and keep the spark/fire alive every year. What happens here in Portland, where his recruiting skills are no longer of so much importance. Now it’s money, and prestige, and market presence, and winning straight away that the top players think about when they enter into courtship with an MLS club.

    I certainly wish Caleb Porter all the best…but I do think that Spenny got a raw deal in a lot of ways…and I do think that there are legitmate questions about just how effective Porter will really be able to be…his rough patch with the USMNT U-23 team not withstanding…

    1. There’s a lot in what you say re: the problem with the controlling/passing game that Spain/Barca plays and that Akron tries to play at the college level (and I should add that the skill set, officiating, and game frequency in college soccer makes it hard to compare it with MLS…). I think Porter will have a very difficult first season here next year.

      But I’m not so sure that even if Spencer had been the single authority over player signings here he’d have been successful with his old-school style. Even in the EPL there’s not many that still play his Route One, whip-in-crosses-and-find-the-target-man style. SPL? Well, there’s another league that, like U.S. college soccer, is hard to see as a good comparison to MLS… Not a lot of teams play the fiddly soccer Spain plays, but lots of teams have figured out how to stymie the old style, and do. If it was still really effective I’d say, sure, let’s win ugly. But the old Crazy Gang would be playing in the Conference today; direct and brutal just isn’t THAT effective anymore.

      I think Spencer was hard done by to a degree, too. But not because he would have been better off “doing it his way…”, but for the same reason I see Porter as having a steep hill to climb – because the two people who DO control the team here are not particularly bright students of the game, and I don’t see why they would change their magpie ways now…

      Hope? Yes. But expect..?

      1. HI FDChief…

        Well…yours is a MUCH MUCH brighter soccer brain than mine, so what you say carries a lot of weight with me…you and #1 Leverage, and Daaaave, and TimberGreen, and our fine and wise host Kevin…and a few others whose names I am forgetting at this second…my apologies. You fellow Timbers fans are a very very sharp group and I am learning quite a lot!

        As far as the old school “Wing Attack” style…you know, I know that it is “dated” per se’, but still, an awful lot of goals are still scored out of it’s basic premise. Look at Bright Dikes last goals, Rodney Wallace’s goal against the Sounders…all headers off of crosses. In both this season and last season, the Timbers scored a lot of their goals from headers off of crosses, off of wing attack and set piece work, free kicks, corner kicks.

        In it’s defense, the old school “Wing Attack”, if done well, with players WHO HAVE THE SKILLS to execute it properly, it is still a very viable attack…and…the MLS is NOT the EPL or Bundesliga or La Liga or Serie A, in terms of defensive skill and integrity. Also…if a defense is “bunkering”, then they are going to give you the wings and crosses, and then with all those players crammed in the box, it becomes a “Hail Mary” crapshoot, but it is still perhaps the most effective way to get a “dangerous” ball into the box consistently.

        Now…if all that sounds like I am a huge old school soccer style fan…well honestly…no, not really. Personally I really love Tiki-Taka, I love the quick penetration passing, exploiting the seams and cracks, the fast rotation of the ball side to side…but again, only Spain National and Barca can really play it. No breath holding here in hopes of our team ever adapting a viable version of it. Nope, just awe and admiration of Spain and Barca whenever I am lucky enough to catch some highlights of their play.

        No…the style I really love the most, is what I used to see watching the Italian Serie A back in the mid/late 90’s/early 2000’s. What I saw back then was very wide open “fast break…kick and chase and attack” style soccer. The defenders would corral the ball, and hit long clearing balls way up to the mid line or beyond, and the mids and strikers would just go off to the races charging to goal. The run of play, was attack, attack, attack. Passing was quick and direct to pressing the play to goal. Possession for possessions sake was at the minimum, possession with purpose to quickly exploit and create a shot was at a premium. Quite a number of the teams is Serie A played this way back then, and you would just get this wild, high speed, end to end action. It was fast, and exciting with lots of shot attempts, and I thought at the time that THIS was the style of soccer that American fans AND American players could and WOULD relate to, and it fit the athletic style and skill set of young American athletes, who were raised on American football, and basketball, with this aggressive, fast paced, hard to the offensive attack mentality.

        I still feel this way, still think that this wide open style could really work here in the MLS, and would be extremely popular with US fans. I also think that it would be quite interesting to see the USMNT play this style, and I personally think that it could be quite successful…with the right players…but I know that this style of play is now considered crude and is well out of fashion with most of the soccer elite that control the US programs at the various levels.

        However the Timbers go next year…my only hope is that Caleb is given free and full control of his player pool, and his team coaches…oh…and that Kris Boyd is given a fair chance next year. No one wants to see another Kenny Cooper scenario develop…and we could surely use a man that really does know how to shoot and score.

        To the FUTURE lads and lasses!

      2. Whoa! Dude – sounds like I pissed in your oatmeal. If I did I apologize – I don’t mean to slag off on you or your opinions; that’s all we’re really doing here, anyway… And I don’t want to make it sound like I have a big hate on the old-school winger-to-target-man attack. You’re right – it can work, and it still does, with the right players. Clearly, though, Spencer never DID have the right players, which sort of leads me back to the question of why he kept trying to play those tactics. Gavin brought the players in, so that wasn’t on Spence, who got handed the bench he was handed. But we saw pretty clearly last season with KFC – as you point out – that we just flat out don’t have the talent to provide a frontrunning striker with accurate service.

        And when I look around, even the teams that still play the old style have moved away from playing that style exclusively; it’s pretty easy to defend against if that’s ALL you can do. There needs to be something going through the center midfield; distribution from a playmaking CM, or a couple of guys who can run at the defenders, or a withdrawn central striker who can play with his back to goal and dish off…

        We never had and still don’t have that – at least not consistently. So what I kept seeing was the rest of MLS feasting on our inability to execute Spence’s old-school attack while being unable to provide any other kind of attacking threat.

        And more to the point – and this is where I agree with your main argument – is that all of us want to see the Boys get off the floor. Frankly, I’d be fine if we dug up some old ancient gaffer from Serie A that would have the team grinding out butt-ugly catenaccio 1-nil wins if it meant pimpslapping the rest of the league. Boring? I’d be fine with boring. Boring wins are better than sexy losses, IMO. I just worry that without some changes in the Front Office we may just get a big old mess next season, Porter or no.

      3. Hi FDCHIEF…

        NO, NO, NO…I wasn’t upset AT ALL with what you said!!! I completely understand and really appreciate your opinions!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

        As I said, your soccer IQ is way above mine, you and #1 Leverage, Daaave, TimberGreen, Kevin, Ryan, William, and quite a few others. I really am learning a lot, which is quite fun for me.

        As far as Spencer…well…one problem for sure with Spenny was that he was rather tactically stiff…and I think that was in part because he is really only comfortable in the OG Wing Attack…that’s what he played all his career, that’s what he knows, he really probably is not comfortable with anything else, does not know anything else thoroughly enough to feel solid in directing another option.

        Another part may have been, that he just did not feel confident with his “bench” as you say, in their skill, in their work rate, in their on field comprehension of reading the game flow, to feel confident that he could throw major changes at them and have them execute them properly. Look at all the different alignment sets he used, none ever really seemed to work better than any other, so I think he may have felt “stuck” with a team that was also tactically inflexible skill/intellect wise, so he felt the best, safest bet he could play was to stay with the very basic shape and style that he felt he could work around. I guess we may never know…but I sure wish someone would find Spencer, get him “spirited” and in the proper frame of mind, and interview him, and find out his perspective on the “whole run of business” in his time here…

        Yes…I would take “win ugly” over “lose pretty” as well…but…I would really be happy if our guys at the very least just went out and attacked like a pack of hungry dogs, and really pushed hard to goal, even if we were left open to the counter. I also never want to see us “Bunker” in any game ever again, home or away. I would rather we lose while trying like all hell to score, rather than cowering in our own 18, waiting for the other boot to drop…so to speak. That is no way to play soccer, playing afraid…to heck with that…go down with your guns a blazin…

        And yes…I like you, I have some trepidation about next year…but…I would suspect that Caleb was able to negotiate quite a bit more control than Spenny, and I hope he can put it to good use. I think that we do really need to be a bit more patient, both the FO and the fans, especially the Timbers Army. They are a super knowledgable group, the TA, and they REALLY DO deserve a huge amount of the credit for keeping this team alive through the years, and for being such a bright light to the MLS that the league was willing to take a shot on us…but…we just are not going to be the next Seattle…we are obviously going to have a little bit longer, harder road to the top, and the TA just needs to give a wee bit more room to Caleb, as he builds this team back up over the next few years…

        Fingers Crossed…
        Kind Regards
        duff

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